The Kantha Bopha hospital reported a near-30-percent decline in patients since the pandemic began. The decrease, said a hospital official, may be attributed to the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Health Ministry which likely prompted a change to a healthier lifestyle among the public.Kantha Bopha deputy director Heng Sothy said during the first five months of the year, only 176,504 children had been admitted to the hospital compared to the same period last year which recorded 245,383 patients.
“Practising good hygiene is key to maintaining good health, especially among children. Since the COVID-19 began, people have started washing their hands regularly and observing standard hygiene and sanitation. These have also helped lower the chances of contracting other infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea and fever among the children,” she said.Another cause for the decline may be due to parents sending their children to other hospitals to avoid crowding in Kantha Bopha, said Dr Sothy.
“The Ministry of Health instructed the public to avoid crowded places to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some parents may have thought sending their children to hospitals nearby would be safer,” he said, noting that children with severe illnesses have not declined despite the drop in the number of patients.
Lastly, he identified the nationwide school closures as another contributing factor, saying the number of sick children receiving pre-primary and primary education has also decreased. In contrast, Dr Sothy said the number of infants, aged one month and below, who are admitted to the hospital keeps increasing.
Despite the overall drop in patients, the Kantha Bopha Foundation said it still needs more donations to support the hospital’s general operations. Last month, private citizens donated over $1 million to the hospital.
This was followed by a $200,000 donation provided by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport on Wednesday. The amount was collected from profits earned for the sale of personalised vehicle number plates – a service made available last week.The handover ceremony was presided over by Aun Pornmoniroth, chairman of the Foundation’s board of trustees, and Public Workers Minister Sun Chanthol. The modernisation of the plates, said Mr Chanthol, was launched to raise money for charity works and organisations, such as Kantha Bopha.